Friday, February 03, 2012


January @ the library!

Branch Librarian
Aquilia De la Cruz helps
with a Spanish computer
class in Anahuac.

Heartland Academy from Hamshire-Fannett
visits the Winnie library.

January 1 brings good tidings for County departments, because the new budget year kicks in, and we can breathe a sigh of release. The majority of our funds for books, magazines, and supplies is usually spent between January and April, and by December, we are holding our breath to squeak by. Our regular vendors start calling January 2nd to tempt us with all those titles we want to provide for our patrons. It’s always a welcomed challenge to buy what we need and keep it in line with the budget.

Once the books and supplies start arriving, the Technical Services division becomes a little chaotic. We actually operate 4 separate units: we have three branches, where citizens use all our library services and collections, and then there is Tech Services, where the ordering, paying, organizing, and distributing of items to the branches occurs. Tech Services deals with the inventory of items, handles all the incoming and outgoing interlibrary loan books, and keeps tabs on all the overdue cash that comes in each week. The County Librarian’s office is part of this mix, so the grant writing, news releases, and marketing are all done from this division as well.

That being said, the first month of 2012 was once again busier than usual and full of activities for all ages. Amid all the above-mentioned activities going on in Tech, here’s what we managed to offer the public:

· Teen gun safely class presented by Don Langford
· 2 new online newspaper services
· Online resume maker service
· EReader download classes
· Weekly toddler times
· Book club
· Anime club
· Homeschool program
· Outreach programs
· Genealogy Interest Group
· Writers’ Interest Group
· Spanish computer class
· Basic and advanced computer class
· Craft club
· Teen advisory boards
· Spanish story time

The staff works tirelessly to provide programs like these for the public and their efforts continually to pay off. Several grants were written last month, 3 to the Texas Book Festival in Austin and 1 to the Wal-Mart Foundation. We ask for funding to supplement the county budget for things like books, programming costs, computers, DVDs, eBooks and more. Last month the West Chambers Branch was given $1,500 from ExxonMobil through their Volunteer Involvement Program. This money, coupled with the grant awarded by Entergy in December was used to purchase a new kids computer workstation for the West Chambers Branch which focuses on early literacy, math and science skills.

This time of year we do a mail-out to the current members of the Friends of the Chambers County Library System. This gives them a reminder about the annual meeting and also that it’s time to renew their dues. Annual dues are $5 a year open to anyone. All money goes to support library programs and services.

Another type of donation the library receives regularly is Memorials and Honorariums. Anyone can donate books or money to honor or memorialize someone special. Last month the library received quite a few memorials and a portion of that money is being used to purchase a rocking chair in memory of Mary Jean Abshier and P.D. Hankamer which will be used in the children’s section at the Chambers County Library in Anahuac. This type of donation is an ongoing way to pay tribute that will enrich the libraries for years to come.

The federal e-rate program has been in place since 1998 providing internet and phone service discounts to public libraries and schools. Chambers County has received reimbursements every year except one and this time of year we start the filing process which isn’t that easy! Since 1998, Chambers County has received over $145,000 in discounts and it’s all for the good of the public.

And finally, the news is finally starting to spread that the West Side of the county is getting a new library. Either an expansion or new construction will hopefully start this year and we have our library users to thank. At the February 11th annual Friends meeting there will be more information so plan to attend and see how you can help!

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